Building healthier communities: ‘The people are a big reason of why I am here’
Emily Mire, who has since earned her PhD in Health Studies, was a graduate student when she first arrived at The University of North Texas Health Science at Fort Worth (HSC) in 2008.
The Louisiana native went from knowing no one to finding an extended family of co-workers on the HSC campus. She has held several different roles, including graduate student in the School of Public Health, tutor at the Center for Academic Performance, and group exercise instructor at the fitness center. She is currently Executive Director, Student and Academic Success in the Division of Student and Academic Affairs.
“The Student Affairs’ family became my family. The people are a big reason of why I am here,” Mire said, explaining how she began working full time in Student Affairs in 2010.
“I accidentally fell into student affairs,” said Mire, who studied environmental health in the School of Public Health. “These are the people I do life with. How cool is it that it exists at work? I just don’t know if it gets much better than that.”
The mission statement in HSC’s Student and Academic Affairs Division is “Creating Solutions for a Healthier Community by Fostering Student Success.”
That’s the right calling for Mire, who explained on LinkedIn: “I’m a health educator who accidentally fell in love with student affairs over a decade ago. My hope is to help others find strength in their own voice and stability in being grounded in their truth, while always remembering that watching individuals do brave things will forever be one of the greatest privileges I have.”
Mire helps students as they navigate their studies and real life. Just one of the many important initiatives she oversees is HSC’s Student Emergency Fund, which supports students struggling with loss of income, medical bills, food insecurity, auto emergencies, and homelessness.
“Before our students are students, they are human beings,” Mire said. “There are no human beings who are exempt from life happening. Life isn’t always easy.”
As Mire’s work evolved at HSC, she went from working face-to-face with students to supporting a staff that works closely with the students.
“My ‘why’ is investing in my team members so they can continue to do this tough work as our students will always be at the core,” Mire said.
A big part of her role focuses on creating an environment that supports the wellbeing of all students. Under her leadership, HSC embraced the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), a five-year project focused on enhancing the learning environment by creating and fostering a culture of health and wellbeing.
The QEP was developed in response to the national problem of professional burnout in health care providers.
Mire is also a wife and the mother of two children – a six-year-old daughter and one-year-old son. Years after working as a fitness instructor, the campus fitness center is still Mire’s comfort zone.
“When I am lifting weights, that’s when the world goes silent. That’s my meditation,” she said.